LITTLE WOLF, FOREST DETECTIVE

From Frettnin Forest, Beastshire, the orthographically challenged correspondent introduced in Little Wolf’s Book of Badness (1999) again reports nefarious doings and silly misadventures to his unsympathetic parents. A number of local baby animals having gone missing, along with some from a visiting circus, and Little Wolf and his associates at the newly formed Yelloweyes Forest Detective Agency take up their mail-order sleuth kits and spring into action. As usual, it all turns out to be the doing of Mr. Twister the fox, who with a homemade gene-modifying machine is recombining his captives into such useful new creatures as cat/spiders to guard his digs, a vegetarian lamb/lion, and a succulent hyena/mouse that can’t hide no matter how tall the grass. A Gen-Next e-mailer in the making, Little Wolf adorns his letters and blot-marred handwritten postscripts with creative spelling and made up words—“But do not fret and frown, we will solve this case soonly, easy cheesy. (Probly.)”—to which Ross adds plenty of sketchy cartoon portraits and vignettes. Once Mr. Twister has been sent packing (to return, no doubt, in future episodes), Little Wolf, his friends, and even obnoxious little brother Smellybreff throw over detective work to join the circus. Readers unfamiliar with this import’s first three installments may trip over a few continuing plot threads, but there’s plenty of noodleheaded humor, plus healthy doses of deduction and derring-do, to keep the howls coming. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-57505-413-2

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

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A fun-if-flimsy vehicle for science lovers.

DRAGONS VS. UNICORNS

From the Kate the Chemist series

A fifth grade girl brings her love of chemistry to the school play.

Kate loves science so much she’s determined to breathe fire. Of course she knows that she needs adult supervision, and so, with her science teacher’s help, Kate demonstrates an experiment with cornstarch and a blowtorch that nearly sets her teacher’s cactus on fire. Consequences ensue. Can someone who loves science as much as Kate does find pleasure spending her fall break at drama camp? It turns out that even the school play—Dragons vs. Unicorns—needs a chemist, though, and Kate saves the day with glue and glitter. She’s sabotaged along the way, but everything is fine after Kate and her frenemy agree to communicate better (an underwhelming response to escalating bullying). Doodles decorate the pages; steps for the one experiment described that can be done at home—making glittery unicorn-horn glue—are included. The most exciting experiments depicted, though, include flames or liquid nitrogen and could only be done with the help of a friendly science teacher. Biberdorf teaches chemistry at the University of Texas and also performs science-education programs as “Kate the Chemist”; in addition to giving her protagonist her name and enthusiasm, she also seems represented in Kate-the-character’s love of the fictional YouTube personality “Dr. Caroline.” Kate and her nemesis are white; Kate’s best friends are black and South Asian.

A fun-if-flimsy vehicle for science lovers. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11655-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL SNOT, SPIT & SLIME!

FROM SNAKE VENOM TO FISH SLIME, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT MUCUS, SALIVA & MORE

Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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